Drama Fantasia Festival

Fantasia Festival Review: ‘Jesters: The Game Changers’

August 23, 2020Ben MK

In today’s social media-driven world, word of mouth can spread like wildfire and reputations can be destroyed in the time it takes to watch a TikTok video. But in Kim Joo-ho's Jesters: The Game Changers, we see that using popular avenues of communication to spread information — or misinformation — is nothing new.

Set during Korea's Joseon dynasty, the story revolves around Sejo (Park Hee-soon), a monarch dogged by his reputation as a king who committed treason to ascend to the throne. Desperate to change his subjects' opinion of him, he turns to a gang of jesters — acrobat Pal-poong (Kim Min-seok), puppeteer Chun Hong-chil (Ko Chang-seok), shaman Geun-deok (Kim Seul-gi), former court painter Jin-sang (Park Yoon) and their leader, Ma Deok-ho (Cho Jin-woong) — who specialize in spreading false rumors, recruiting them to stage a series of "miracles." But when the elaborate stunt begins to go too far, the jesters must decide where their loyalties really lie.

Seamlessly blending historical fact with speculative fiction — with a dusting of lighthearted comedy thrown in for good measure — the result is as imaginative as it is enlightening, making Jesters: The Game Changers a rare find and a genuine treat to watch.

Jesters: The Game Changers makes its North American premiere at the 2020 Fantasia International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 47 min.

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